Friday, December 26, 2014

Insight: What happens when we reject the Lord’s messenger?

Originally published on January 23, 2009

What happens when we reject the Lord's messenger?

What happens when we reject the Lord's messenger?

What happens when we reject, ignore or misinterpret the message from the Lord? Consider Sarah and Abraham? Ishmael is the answer. Consider Lot's wife – a pillar a salt is the answer. Consider Jonah – He did not heed in the beginning. He suffered through a terrible storm, thrown in the sea, and swallowed by a big fish. What if the word comes from a prophet? Is there any difference? Consider Jezebel and Ahab. He repented so he did not die the horrible death predicted he would die. Jezebel did not repent, she died as was predicted. What happens when we listen and heed? The people Jonah spoke to repented and they were spared from earthly destruction and possibly eternal death. 

What happens when we emphasize part of a prophecy and not the other? We do that with the first 'leg' of the 1st Angel's Message. Apostle John tells us about the first Angel,

Revelation 14:6And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Revelation 14:7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

When talking about what the angel has to say, many focus on verse 7. Thus, they emphasize the judgment and the law – specifically the Sabbath. But, they ignore verse six. What does verse six say? It says that the angel has the everlasting Gospel to preach to the entire world. The Gospel is the good news of Salvation. This is the news that salvation is by faith through grace. This is the news that the righteousness of Christ save us, not our own. In other words, it is the good works of that Christ save us, not our own faulty works. This is why Sister White says that 3rd Angels Message is Righteousness by Faith in verity. Let us read the quote,

Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, "It is the third angel's message, in verity." The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. {1SM 372.2}

Many claim that the message of Justification by faith makes the law void. However, Sister White has this to say,

Some of our brethren have expressed fears that we shall dwell too much upon the subject of justification by faith, but I hope and pray that none will be needlessly alarmed; for there is no danger in presenting this doctrine as it is set forth in the Scriptures. If there had not been a remissness in the past to properly instruct the people of God, there would not now be a necessity of calling a special attention to it.... The exceeding great and precious promises given us in the Holy Scriptures have been lost sight of to a great extent, just as the enemy of all righteousness designed that they should be. He has cast his own dark shadow between us and our God, that we may not see the true character of God. The Lord has proclaimed Himself to be "merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." {1SM 372.1}

She echoes the Apostle Paul. In Romans 3: 19 – 31 Paul expounds on this topic. Let us read the passage,

Romans 3: 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Romans 3: 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3: 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Romans 3: 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 3: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3: 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3: 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 3: 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Romans 3: 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3: 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Romans 3: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Romans 3: 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

So it is the good news of salvation by grace through faith on the Righteousness of Christ that the 1st Angel preaches unto the whole world. The keeping of the law and the knowledge of the judgment will come as a result of that faith. As we live by faith, the Holy Spirit will renew our minds into the likeness, perfection, maturity and stature of Christ. Trying to live by the law so we can stand the judgment will not help us. We will be found wanting. By letting the Spirit fill us with the fullness of Christ that will transform us into holy and selfless beings, we will meet God's and the Law's approval. Will you let the Spirit do this work in you?


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